Regarding Culture

Culture cannot be overrated any more than the roads you take to work are overrated. Neither is it a tool that can be leveraged. Rather it is a reality that we both live in and help create. Once we view it as anything other than this, we marginalize ourselves into sects who merely imitate culture in a “15 minutes too late” kind of way.

While I enjoy Driscoll’s analogy that culture is an exercise bike that each generation gets on and pronounces they are finally making progress, I do think it unintentionally disregards the fact that building culture is one of the prime examples that we are made in the image of God.

Culture is like a hiking path that we all walk along. Most of us just walk along the path with everyone else. Sometimes we try a new way of our own, but usually hurry back to the most common path. A new path is created as more and more people walk along a different way. In this way, they are more formative to the path they are on than they would be on the main path.

The goal for us as Christians isn’t to create our own path just for us, but rather to walk where people are. Walking on the populated path with people, walking on the new paths with people, discovering older paths with people. As long as we don’t drink, smoke or listen to rock n roll while on the various paths.

Sometimes we will need to help make paths more walkable for all (social justice). But at the end of the day we serve our paths (culture) for good, love those who are walking the paths with us and work so that when everyone gets to the end of the path they will be excited to see the Lord Jesus there.

matt

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One Response

  1. Meh. Overrated.

    Jesus to Pharisees: Your culture is overrated.
    Paul to Athenians: I leverage your altars and poetry as tools.
    Both of them: These are not really the deepest or most important issues of your culture.

    To a culture of cheap bastards, you preach generosity and giving.
    To a culture of broken homes, you preach marriage and family.
    To a culture of rigid rationalism, you preach life-giving mysticism.
    To a culture of fruitcake pop spirituality, you preach reason.
    To a culture of relativism, you preach dogmatism.
    To a warlike culture, you preach pacifism.
    To a passive culture, you preach strength and honor.
    To a culture of materialsim, you preach self-denial and sacrifice.
    To a culture of individualism and self-reliance, you preach the need for community.
    Etc.
    Etc.
    Etc.

    Sorry, Matt, I know what you are saying, and I think you know what I am saying, but the current crop of church leaders has this backwards. We live in an age where we preach what the culture is doing, rather than the antidote for the sickness of the culture.

    Otherwise, in all seriousness, I agree with what you are saying. I just think it is standing on its head.

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